Acupuncture in patients with headache

Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health Economics, Charité Medical Centre, Berlin, Germany.
Cephalalgia (Impact Factor: 4.89). 07/2008; 28(9):969-79. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2982.2008.01640.x
Source: PubMed


We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with primary headache (> 12 months, two or more headaches/month) compared with treatment with routine care alone and whether the effects of acupuncture differ in randomized and non-randomized patients. In a randomized controlled trial plus non-randomized cohort, patients with headache were allocated to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions over 3 months or to a control group receiving no acupuncture during the first 3 months. Patients who did not consent to randomization received acupuncture treatment immediately. All subjects were allowed usual medical care in addition to study treatment. Number of days with headache, intensity of pain and health-related quality of life (SF-36) were assessed at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months using standardized questionnaires. Of 15,056 headache patients (mean age 44.1 +/- 12.8 years, 77% female), 1613 were randomized to acupuncture and 1569 to control, and 11,874 included in the non-randomized acupuncture group. At 3 months, the number of days with headache decreased from 8.4 +/- 7.2 (estimated mean +/-s.e.) to 4.7 +/- 5.6 in the acupuncture group and from 8.1 +/- 6.8 to 7.5 +/- 6.3 in the control group (P < 0.001). Similarly, intensity of pain and quality of life improvements were more pronounced in the acupuncture vs. control group (P < 0.001). Treatment success was maintained through 6 months. The outcome changes in non-randomized patients were similar to those in randomized patients. Acupuncture plus routine care in patients with headache was associated with marked clinical improvements compared with routine care alone.

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    • "Acupuncture is likely to be helpful in treating GWI as published work suggests it can successfully reduce many key symptoms including pain [8] [9], musculoskeletal disorders [10] [11] [12], both acute and chronic pain after amputation in military contexts [13] [14], fatigue [15] state, trait and situational anxiety [16], and depression [17] [18] [19]. Further, there is evidence that acupuncture may be effective in the treatment of other complex diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome [20] [21], fibromyalgia [22], and post-traumatic stress disorder [23]. Chinese medicine, on which acupuncture is based, uses diagnostic and treatment procedures that are complex [24] "

    Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.) 05/2014; 20(5):A15-6. DOI:10.1089/acm.2014.5037.abstract · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    • "Acupuncture may be a promising whole-person treatment option for TSR as dynamic, ‘multi-mechanism’ responses are elicited by the insertion of thin needles at specific body points which influence several interacting pathways in trauma response and recovery [44]. Because acupuncture has been found to be effective in treating several individual conditions that form TSR (that is, insomnia [45-47], depression [48,49], chronic pain [50-52], headaches [53,54]) and other multiple co-morbidities [55]), it could be potentially advantageous for treating the multi-symptom complex of TSR. To date, however, no systematic reviews have examined acupuncture efficacy across the entire TSR. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Co-morbid symptoms (for example, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and fatigue) are particularly common in military fighters returning from the current conflicts, who have experienced physical and/or psychological trauma. These overlapping conditions cut across the boundaries of mind, brain and body, resulting in a common symptomatic and functional spectrum of physical, cognitive, psychological and behavioral effects referred to as the ‘Trauma Spectrum Response’ (TSR). While acupuncture has been shown to treat some of these components effectively, the current literature is often difficult to interpret, inconsistent or of variable quality. Thus, to gauge comprehensively the effectiveness of acupuncture across TSR components, a systematic review of reviews was conducted using the Samueli Institute’s Rapid Evidence Assessment of the Literature (REAL©) methodology. Methods PubMed/MEDLINE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycInfo were searched from inception to September 2011 for systematic reviews/meta-analyses. Quality assessment was rigorously performed using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN 50) checklist and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. Adherence to the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials in Acupuncture (STRICTA) criteria was also assessed. Results Of the 1,480 citations identified by our searches, 52 systematic reviews/meta-analyses, all high quality except for one, met inclusion criteria for each TSR component except post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sexual function. The majority of reviews addressed most STRICTA components, but did not describe safety. Conclusions Based on the results of our review, acupuncture appears to be effective for treating headaches and, although more research is needed, seems to be a promising treatment option for anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression and chronic pain. It does not, however, demonstrate any substantial treatment benefit for substance abuse. Because there were no reviews on PTSD or sexual function that met our pre-defined inclusion criteria, we cannot comment on acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating these conditions. More quality data are also needed to determine whether acupuncture is appropriate for treating fatigue or cognitive difficulties. Further, while acupuncture has been shown to be generally safe, safety was not described in the majority of studies, making it difficult to provide any strong recommendations. Future research should address safety reporting in detail in order to increase our confidence in acupuncture’s efficacy across the identified TSR components.
    Systematic Reviews 10/2012; 1(1):46. DOI:10.1186/2046-4053-1-46
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    • "In recent years, there has been increasing evidence from large randomized trials and systematic reviews showing that patients receiving acupuncture report better outcomes than patients receiving no treatment or usual care only (for example, [1,2]). A large trial on low back pain [3] and a meta-analysis of migraine trials [4] even found superiority over guideline-oriented conventional care. "
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    ABSTRACT: While several recent large randomized trials found clinically relevant effects of acupuncture over no treatment or routine care, blinded trials comparing acupuncture to sham interventions often reported only minor or no differences. This raises the question whether (sham) acupuncture is associated with particularly potent nonspecific effects. We aimed to investigate the size of nonspecific effects associated with acupuncture interventions. MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials and reference lists were searched up to April 2010 to identify randomized trials of acupuncture for any condition, including both sham and no acupuncture control groups. Data were extracted by one reviewer and verified by a second. Pooled standardized mean differences were calculated using a random effects model with the inverse variance method. Thirty-seven trials with a total of 5754 patients met the inclusion criteria. The included studies varied strongly regarding patients, interventions, outcome measures, methodological quality and effect sizes reported. Among the 32 trials reporting a continuous outcome measure, the random effects standardized mean difference between sham acupuncture and no acupuncture groups was -0.45 (95% confidence interval, -0.57, -0.34; I2 = 54%; Egger's test for funnel plot asymmetry, P = 0.25). Trials with larger effects of sham over no acupuncture reported smaller effects of acupuncture over sham intervention than trials with smaller nonspecific effects (β = -0.39, P = 0.029). Sham acupuncture interventions are often associated with moderately large nonspecific effects which could make it difficult to detect small additional specific effects. Compared to inert placebo interventions, effects associated with sham acupuncture might be larger, which would have considerable implications for the design and interpretation of clinical trials.
    BMC Medicine 11/2010; 8(1):75. DOI:10.1186/1741-7015-8-75 · 7.25 Impact Factor
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